Although Pacific Dawn has been plying the waters of Australia and the South Pacific for more than four years, there was plenty of news surrounding the veteran ship when we boarded for an 11-night Pacific Islands cruise from Brisbane last September. One was a new itinerary, affording passengers an overnight stay and some new shore excursions options in Port Vila, Vanuatu's capital. Another was that Dawn had undergone a major makeover earlier in the year, updating not only the ship's tired decor but also its less-than-sparkling facilities, bringing it more closely in line with Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl, the more recent newcomers to the P&O Australia fleet.
Like many of our fellow Australian shipmates, we booked this cruise to shake off the winter doldrums and doff swimmers and shorts to hit the beach once again. A leisurely itinerary, featuring plenty of idyllic beach havens in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, was ideal. We were also keen to check out the ship's new improvements. After arriving in Brisbane to early spring high temperatures, and with great weather forecast for the trip, the only thing left to do was to hop onboard and spend the next 10 days exploring a revitalized ship and some lovely islands. Bring on a cold beer and some sunscreen!